‘A step forward’; Benitez hopes NIR will speed up delivery of gov’t services

Posted by watchmen
March 14, 2024
Posted in HEADLINE

By Mae Singuay

Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez expressed optimism that establishing the Negros Island Region (NIR) will hasten the delivery of government services in the region.

Benitez said he is considering the city government providing office spaces and buildings for the establishment of regional offices in the city under the NIR, following the passage of Senate Bill (SB) 2507, which seeks to place Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental and Siquijor under the proposed new region.

“We should consider it. May napatindog man kita diri nga legislative building. Ang Old City Hall i-expand ta man kag bag-ohon. On top of that, we have two government centers in the malls that we can provide for them,” Benitez said.

The mayor told the members of the media that after the bill’s approval in the Senate, a bicameral conference would be conducted before President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. signs the bill into law.

“I commend the dedication and commitment shown by our senators towards the progress and unity of Negros Island. Together, we will forge ahead for a brighter future,” he said.

The Senate approved on the third and final reading SB 2507, which seeks to improve the delivery of basic government services on Negros Island, through the establishment of regional government offices, and promotes decentralization to strengthen local autonomy.

Under the bill, regional offices related to agriculture, peace and order, security, and governance clusters will be established in Negros Occidental, while agencies related to human development, infrastructure and industry, and labor clusters will be assigned to Negros Oriental.

A technical working group (TWG) will formulate a roadmap for the institutional arrangements of the NIR, arrange the organizational development requirements for development planning and investment programming, and map out the provision of public services in the proposed region.

Composing the TWG are representatives from the National Economic and Development Authority, the Department of Budget and Management, the Offices of the Governor of the provinces, elected members of the House of Representatives of the provinces, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government, which will serve as its secretariat.

Negros Occidental currently belongs to Western Visayas, while Negros Oriental and Siquijor are under Central Visayas.

Meanwhile, Bacolod Lone District Representative Greg Gasataya welcomed the Senate’s approval of the bill.

“The establishment of the NIR is already there. There is a sense of oneness among the representatives of Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental and Siquijor for that matter,” Gasataya said.

“We will just have to iron out the nitty-gritty,” he added.

Negros Occidental 3rd District Representative Jose Francisco Benitez said the approval was “a monumental step forward” to the creation of the NIR.

“This is a great milestone for all Negrenses in our dream for a united and prosperous Negros,” he said./With reports from PNA / MS, WDJ


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